A week ago, Paul Teixiera and Dave Rimple, partners for 16 years, became one of the 484 gay and lesbian couples to marry at New York’s City Hall on July 24th 2011, the first day same-sex marriages became legal in New York State.
We started the morning taking family photos in their Chelsea apartment with Lucy, their Shiba Inu, and assembling all the legal documentation required for obtaining the license. Along with Denise, their best friend and witness, we headed downtown to City Hall to what would become four hours of cheering and heart-felt congratulations. The raucous outdoor line was snaking at a snail’s-pace in the summer heat while wedding vendors of every sort passed out cards, banners, flags, buttons and goody bags. There was a jubilant anticipation as we inched closer to City Hall and then into the greater mayhem inside the building where we waited for Dave and Paul’s number to be displayed.
I marveled at the extraordinarily diverse community of gays and lesbians of every age, from 20+ to 90+, representing a myriad of ethnicities, wearing unique costumes and combinations of formal and informal, masculine and feminine attire. All of us were gathered to participate and celebrate a momentous day in the history of civil rights in America, when it finally became legal for gays and lesbians in New York State to have the equal right to exchange life vows of love and commitment, witnessed by family and friends. My favorite poster… “26 years engaged. Married today. PROMISE KEPT.”[vimeo http://vimeo.com/27130575 w=500&h=400]